Virat Kohli has questioned Edgbaston's short, 59-metre boundary where England openers picked off a substantial percentage of runs against the Indian bowlers. Although Kohli did not blame the shorter boundary for India's first defeat of the World Cup, he did raise an eyebrow over the dimensions on one side, which he called "bizarre" and "crazy" on a pitch that was flat, and slow.
The shorter boundary was a bother for India. On Saturday, as soon India arrived at the ground, the coaching staff comprising Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Bangar and Bharat Arun were seen having word with the head groundsman. As the host of the tournament, the guidelines for pitch and ground conditions are set by the ICC.
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The England batsman, particularly Jonny Bairstow, who hit an explosive 111, took full advantage of the short boundary. Five out of the six sixes Bairstow hit went over the shorter boundary. Four of those hits were against Chahal and one against Kuldeep. Ben Stokes, too, took advantage by hitting an audacious reverse-swept six against Chahal, who was hit over the boundary half a dozen times on a day when he returned the worst ever figures for an Indian bowler in World Cups with 10-0-88-0.
Kohli was seen frequently rushing to Chahal, urging him to stick to bowling on lines that did not allow the batsmen to take advantage of the shorter boundary. In the end Kohli did not hide his frustration.
"It's a coincidence that it (the short boundary) just falls under the limitations of the shortest boundary you can have in the tournament," Kohli told the host broadcaster in the post-match briefing. "So quite bizarre on a flat pitch, it's the first time we've experienced that so it's crazy that things fall in place like that randomly."
Kohli said the pressure was obviously then on the spinners not to falter, although he did admit that the lines Indian bowlers pitched could have been much better.
When Sanjay Manjrekar, who was conducting the post-match briefing, asked whether he had tactically miscalculated by not bringing in part-time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav, Kohli disagreed. "I don't think so because if batsmen are able to reverse sweep you for a six on a 59-metre boundary then there is not much you can do as a spinner. There is no sort of room to think whether you are going to get out or not and one side was about 82 (metres) or something like that. Yeah, look, they had to be smart with the with lines they bowled, but with one short boundary it was very difficult to contain runs."